Eucharist Miracle Eucharist Miracles

Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of June 4, 2006

Pentecost Sunday - Mass of the day (Year B)
1st Reading: Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 103; 2ns Reading: Gal 5:16-25; Gospel: Jn 15:26-27; 16:12-15

Throughout the Church history, between past, present and future, there is a common thread that is carefully safeguarded by God himself and it is his presence. This truth, with the Incarnation, thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, has become increasingly clear and strong, starting with the apostles up to their successors.

All this is present in the so-called Collect, the prayer at the beginning of the celebration of the Holy Mass: "It goes on today, in the community of believers, the wonders you worked at the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel". Even if two thousand years have passed between the great intervention of God we read today in the Acts of the Apostles and the great Eucharistic miracle of June 11, 2000, it is always God the protagonist who, with his divine action, works wonders. Today we celebrate two great miracles performed by God: the prodigy of speaking and understanding languages by the apostles and above all by Peter and the miracle that took place in my hands during the Holy Mass on the feast of Pentecost, when I had just finished reciting the consecration rite of bread.

We must remember this miracle and be grateful to God the Holy Spirit, because with his outpouring he transforms the bread and wine into the real presence of Christ in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. In fact, the thaumaturgic intervention that goes against the laws of nature is attributed to the Third Person of the Holy Trinity: God has established these laws and He only can derogate from them. In the face of a phenomenon that goes against the laws of nature, we must bow down and recognize the presence of God. Remember, it has been said several times, it is a serious and heavy theological error to attribute a work of God to the devil.

Unfortunately, this was said to try to obscure the great miracle of June 11, 2000, but it belongs only to God. Today we enjoy all this, also because we realize that God has not retired, has not forgotten the Church. Jesus does not become an emeritus, the Holy Spirit does not retire to Heaven leaving to us men the responsibility of guiding and teaching the Gospel, because if that were the case, my dear, the Church would already be a memory belonging to the past. If the Church, despite the errors of men and pastors, still exists and is present, it is due exclusively to the presence of God.

Well, we see the first miracle, the first great intervention of God. When the Lord calls someone to fulfill a certain mission, he also gives the possibility to carry out what He is asking.

If you remember, in the last verses of the Gospel of Matthew there are the last recommendations of Jesus to the Apostles: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Mt 28:19-20). Here the universality of the Church is amazingly defined, where despite the diversity of languages, nations, cultures and peoples, they are united thanks to the action of God.

We take it for granted, reading the Acts of the Apostles, that the apostles preached the Gospel in every corner of the then known world. But how did they make themselves understood by the inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Spain, Greece, Rome and the inhabitants of the East? Did all these peoples speak only one language? Do you believe the apostles went to school to learn languages? They never had this chance. Remember who the apostles were: simple people, of the populace, committed to work and who were called by Jesus to become shepherds and apostles. Only Paul had a good education, but the others had a modest education, so how did they preach, announce and teach?

The explanation is present in the passage from the Acts of the Apostles that was read today: the gift of languages. “When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism; Cretans and Arabs and we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” (Acts 2:6-12).

How much wonder this miracle aroused. On the day of Pentecost the apostles received from God the gift to speak and understand all languages, at least those of the peoples they would evangelize. All this is also supported by the authority of various fathers of the Church and in particular by St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest theologian in the entire Church history. There is a fairly open and precise agreement on this. Pay attention: there is a difference between this gift and the one called "speaking in tongues"; the latter is manifested, under the immediate action of the Holy Spirit, when songs and prayers are raised to God with words incomprehensible to those present. Therefore, the gift of "speaking in tongues" is not given by God as a function of others and therefore the latter is inconsistent with Christ's order to proclaim the Holy Gospel to all peoples. On the day of Pentecost, however, the people present testify that they benefited from the gift of tongues: "Everyone was amazed and perplexed, asking each other: ‘What does this mean?". They are amazed at how each of them, while speaking different languages, listens to and understands the apostles speaking and preaching in their own language. But why be surprised? Nothing is impossible to God. Why get defensive and seek explanations that reduce and detract from God's works? Instead they must be received and accepted in their entire splendor.

After all, I myself have been involved in similar experiences, but I don't go into details so as not to put anyone in difficulty. I met people of different nationalities who conversed in their own language while I listened to them speaking in Italian and when I spoke to them in Italian, each of them understood very well my words in their own language. So why wonder? You know that bilocation is another miraculous action of God that still exists today and Our Lady has often spoken about: my two dear children will go to Africa, Asia, Latin America, etc... There are no interpreters for these occasions to assist people or to announce the Word of God.

I do not want to go beyond the authority of the fathers of the Church and the great theologian Thomas Aquinas, but I believe I can affirm that Peter, on the day of Pentecost, had the gift of languages a "step" above the apostles. In fact, in this case he spoke in his own language, speaking with authority and power to the people of different nationalities present in Jerusalem and each one, at the same time, understood Peter's speech. In this I see the other promise of Christ fulfilled, when he gave Peter the supreme command: "Feed my sheep". To feed means to instruct, to speak, to address people. Jesus said it, the sheep hear the voice of the shepherd: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd" (Jn 10:14-16). Here Peter, Head of the Church, foundation of the unity of the Church, begins to exercise his role as head of the Apostolic Institution, Head of the whole Church, in an even greater and more extraordinary way than the apostles themselves.

Now it is legitimate to ask whether what the Holy Spirit accomplished at the beginning of the Church history can be repeated even after twenty centuries. In part it has already happened, as I explained to you, but I want to be even more daring: I believe that the great portent will also be repeated, as when people speaking different languages ​​understood, at the same time, Peter's sentences. Everything depends exclusively on God, it does not depend on us. God has done it and will be able to do it again; he has done it and will be able not to do it again. So why say it? So that you have the exact understanding of God's word and action and you can better understand the portentous events of the past and, if needed, be ready for future events. We must be prepared to understand God's great works.

Let me show you an example; you young people are carrying out the mission that God has entrusted to you, that is to go and speak to priests. How is it possible that you, young and objectively less prepared on theological topics, have spoken with more wisdom and intelligence than the priests, to the point of putting them in difficulty? All this also happened because the Holy Spirit helped and enlightened you.

"When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say" (Lk 12:11-12). You have experienced it, but you probably have not fully understood it, because it is something so great and portentous that it is easy to wonder "how is it possible that the Lord uses me to do these great things?" Why not? The Lord confuses the proud and helps the humble, spreads the truth to oppose, fight and overcome the lie. How many lies, how many heretical statements, how much malice and slander have you heard? Yet you have had the strength and the light to reply. Remember the text of the prayer of today's Collect: “Continue today, in the community of believers, the wonders you worked at the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel”, actually today it is reality too.

In the past it was the apostles who had to speak and convert people from the Jewish religion or from paganism to Christianity and today it is still a matter of converting, not the faithful, but the pastors, unfortunately. The Lord is fulfilling and assisting you in this mission towards the priests: they too have a soul and are loved by God.

I conclude by recalling the great Eucharistic miracle which, as you young people have discovered, puts some priests in such difficulty that they say heretical and ridiculous things.

You see, even in this case there is a similarity with the miracle that took place on the day of Pentecost. In fact, some of the people, faced with the wonder of understanding the language of the apostles in their own language, claimed that they were drunk.

Here, everything is repeated. It is a grave slander, a sin and an offense above all to God more than to the apostles. There are the stupid, the ignorant, the enemies of God who think they are ridiculing these portents and instead they expose themselves, cutting a very ugly and bad figure and will be severely judged and condemned by God in the future. For them there is no salvation. There is no salvation for those who offend the Eucharist and for those who attribute to the devil what belongs to God. You young people do well to stand up when faced by these people and answer that you are not the ones outside the Church but those who are offending God and profaning the Eucharist thus sinning gravely against the Holy Spirit who worked this miracle.

The miracle of June 11 arouses something special in me, I feel it is mine. Sometimes I am tempted to keep this experience in my heart, embracing it and keeping it just for me, but then I understand instead that God has done it for the others. I am therefore happy to share with all of you those emotions and manifestations of faith and love that I experienced when I began to see the blood flowing from the newly consecrated Eucharist. Decades may pass, but I will certainly always remember with clarity and precision of details what I experienced on that day. You too are called to be witnesses, especially those who were present, but also those who heard my story; all of you have tasted the beauty and grandeur of this great miracle.

You all must be witnesses, above all those who defend and announce to others these great works of God. Remember the Eucharistic prayer: "Truly Holy Father, source of all holiness, sanctify these gifts with the outpouring of Your Spirit, so that they become for us the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord”. God the Holy Spirit cannot be separated from the Eucharist because the actualization and presence of Christ's sacrifice is perpetuated in the Church through the action and power of the Holy Spirit. We must not forget this truth of faith.

True, we turn our attention and prayer more to Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity. Then in the last few years we have also learned to know God the Father who manifested to us, allowing us to talk and to turn to him as "Daddy God". Instead, God the Holy Spirit, through our fault and responsibility, is not sufficiently honored. It is a bit neglected: prayers, love, faith in God the Holy Spirit is not as adequate as it should be. It is true that God is one and Trine but we cannot neglect any of the divine persons, because it is the same God who must be the goal of worship, love and faith.

God the Holy Spirit has miracles as a peculiarity of his action and above all the great Eucharistic miracle that I have reminded you of, but the other persons of the Trinity are not strangers to it, therefore we can never disunite the Three divine Persons, but we must address them all at the same time, because God is one, he is the source of truth and he is the source of love.

May the Holy Spirit help us too to understand all that must be practiced and spread, help us to fulfill the commitments we took on when we were not yet conscious on the day of our baptism and repeated on the day of Confirmation. Every day we must continually renew our commitment which must not be practiced just a few days, but must embrace every day of the year.

Without the action of the Holy Spirit, as without the Eucharist and without the love of God the Father, we cannot live. We need God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. So let's try to add to our prayers a hymn of thanksgiving and praise to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Praised be Jesus Christ.